Bewildering Stories

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Tuesdays and Thursdays:
a Tale of Obsession

by Dustin LaValley

Jessica is a student. That is her title: student. Part-time, two courses for a total of six credit hours. She lives in apartment 3A at number 4 Knight Street. She has no job, makes no money. The parents support her, pay for the rent, the college bills, and the candy-apple red convertible. They feed their daughter, clothe her, and purchase all of their little princess’ must-have items. Most they don’t know about, most they wouldn’t want to know about.

Classes begin in the morning — not too early, though. Recuperation time is a priority, never know when a party will come knocking on the door. She leaves home — roughly — at 15 minutes of eleven. World history starts at 11:15 a.m. and runs until 2:15 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays. She then has a small break before the next class. Jessica spends this time in the café ; sipping green tea, nibbling on fig bars, and chatting with girl friends of equal beauty: long, blonde hair, ocean-blue eyes, and skin white as china dolls. They could all easily be mistaken for sisters.

General Psychology begins at quarter of three. It ends at quarter of six. Tuesdays and Thursdays. After school, Jessica meets friends for dinner at a posh Italian restaurant, the café companions. She orders the seafood alfredo, with a garden salad, and an unsweetened iced tea. She cuts the saucy linguine — never slurps, and when the plate is empty, she then excuses herself to the ladies’ room where the meal is forced back up.

At roughly 8 o’clock the girls depart with hugs and retreat to their own homesteads. This trip takes Jessica about twenty minutes. Thirty, if traffic is slow. She drives with the top down, always. No matter how chilly the southern night may be. She must like how the tousling of her hair feels in the wind.

Once in the driveway, the car is sheltered with an auburn-colored cover. It takes her from 22 to 28 steps to reach the front door, depending on the length of her stride. She pauses at the door for nearly ten seconds before unlocking it and entering. By then, the time is usually in the range of 8:30 to twenty of nine.

* * *

Howard’s Tuesday and Thursday mornings begin at 9:45. He showers, gets dressed, and leaves home in a white, mid-class sedan. His breakfast is bought and consumed during the drive. It consists of one chocolate-glazed donut, an untoasted blueberry bagel, and a French vanilla coffee. This ritual saves time. He is a man who likes to be punctual, early. Always worries he’ll be late and the day will be an utter waste. His usual time of arrival at 4 Knight Street is approximately 10:30 a.m. Where he sits, sips his coffee, and waits for Jessica to start her day.

Copyright © 2004 by Dustin LaValley

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